chanel: 52 posts

Les Eaux de Chanel : New Perfumes and Voyages

The next big Chanel launch is a collection of three perfumes, Les Eaux de Chanel. Like Les Exclusifs, they are inspired by places that were meaningful to Chanel. Perfumer Olivier Polge has selected three destinations, Deauville, Venice and Biarritz, and created three stories around them. All three are meant to explore fresh and effervescent notes, but they play with different characters and effects. I will share more detailed reviews as I test the perfumes carefully, and for now just a few general notes the collection.

PARIS-DEAUVILLE

Gabrielle Chanel opened her first boutique in Deauville on the Normandy coast in 1912.

“More than the actual reality of the destination, I liked the idea urbanites make of it when they dream of a
weekend away in the country. I wasn’t striving to capture the Normandy countryside as it stands today, but rather
the promise of a stroll through the tall grasses.” Olivier Polge

The fragrance is green, with the brightness of bitter orange rind, petitgrain and basil leaves. It’s accented with rose and jasmine, but the drydown has a layer of patchouli that gives it a chypre-like impression.

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7 Rare Vintage Perfumes : The Perfume and Wine Class

As preparation for the Art of Perfume and Wine class that I’m teaching in April in France (more details here), I thought I would write about 7 vintage perfumes that have been influential for the evolution of perfumery and that we will smell in their original versions. There will be over 50 different perfumes in this course, but these 7 are among the most essential to learn.

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue 1912

Many perfumers will name Guerlain as the most influential perfume house, especially in its period when Jacques Guerlain was the head creator. L’Heure Bleue is a textbook example of a classic as well as of a symphonic perfume.

We will, of course, smell other Guerlain classics, from Après L’Ondée and Mitsouko to Chamade and Chant d’Arômes.

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Chanel Gabrielle : Perfume Review

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After years of waiting for Chanel’s next big launch, here comes Gabrielle. “A rebel at heart…passionate and free,” exalted the press release, using words like radiant, sparkling, luminous and “purely feminine.” Although Coco Chanel was a talented individual and a major force in fashion, as a personality I don’t find her all that appealing. But then again, it wasn’t the first time the brand relied on the designer’s charisma to cast a spell. Coco, one of the most baroque and elegant perfumes of the 1980s, used Gabrielle Chanel’s nickname and an image of her reclining in her Coromandel-decorated salon. So what’s wrong with Gabrielle?

One fundamental thing. Unlike its namesake, Gabrielle the perfume doesn’t aim for originality. Gabrielle is a shadow of Coco Mademoiselle, with less personality, less character and less presence. Take Coco Mademoiselle, remove all of the bling and earthy bit of patchouli, put it through a laundry cycle with white musks, garnish it with a few white florals—and here you go, Gabrielle.

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Chanel, Caron and Guerlain in Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita

“The first time I encountered a perfume that beguiled me was in the pages of a book. The sultry red-haired witch in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita enticed women with the promise of “Guerlain, Chanel No 5, Mitsouko, Narcisse Noir, evening gowns, cocktail dresses…” It would be some years before I smelled these perfumes, yet their names left a “baffling but seductive” imprint, just as the novel suggested.”

In my recent FT column, Revisiting Three Perfume Classics, I write about the three legendary perfumes that left their “baffling but seductive” trace in literature and history. They are Chanel No 5, Guerlain Mitsouko and Caron Narcisse Noir. Bulgakov started writing his novel in 1928 and worked on it until his death in 1940. The reason he selected these three perfumes as the lure for the black magic show was because they embodied glamour.

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Three Ultimate Iris Perfumes

Once, as I was telling Maurice Roucel how much I loved his Iris Silver Mist, a perfume he created for Serge Lutens, he laughed and explained that Lutens kept asking again and again for more iris, so he ended up using all the iris aromatics in the catalogue of his company and essentially “mixing them together.” Roucel can be refreshingly self-deprecating about his work, but I knew that achieving the precise harmony of Iris Silver Mist took much more than just blending all irises in sight. For me, it evokes the cool, frozen beauty of this complex note in a way that few other iris perfumes can.

In my recent FT column, I examine three iris classics, describing what makes them compelling and memorable. Above all, iris as an ingredient deserves attention because it’s one of the most layered, rich but difficult materials available to perfumers.

The first time I smelled iris essence, I stood for a few minutes with a perfume blotter under my nose before I regained my senses. In an instant it conjured up frozen petals and snow-covered trees, and while this image of a winter garden was vivid, I couldn’t easily describe the fragrance. It was like nothing I had encountered before, and pinning down its radiant but surprisingly potent scent proved difficult. To continue, please click here.

What are your ultimate iris perfumes?

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  • Andy in The Memory of a Mulberry Tree: I love mulberries, and grew up with the trees around me, but didn’t realize what they were or how delicious I would find them until somewhat recently. They’re now one… July 17, 2018 at 12:51pm

  • Nina in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Thank you! I’ll sample those for sure, especially Santal Noir seems nice! Also thanks for the rec about the website you mentioned, it was great fun looking up fragrances! July 17, 2018 at 12:45pm

  • Devon Rubin in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Thanks! I’ll give them a try. Devon July 17, 2018 at 12:42pm

  • limegreen in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: An idea: Tom Ford has come out with a limited line of body sprays that are quite nice, muted versions of the eau de parfum. Makes it office friendly and… July 17, 2018 at 12:38pm

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